What with all the political commercials and billboards and signs in people's yards these days, it seems that we've come to that very special time once more: Tune Out the Politicians Month....no, that's not it...oh, yeah "Election Season"! Tragically, you can't escape all the swirling debate and rhetoric, especially when they have the incredible nerve to air ads during sacred events like baseball games, for crying out loud. So the boys have unwittingly been exposed to lots of information--one sound bite at a time--which has led to an unprecedented increase in the political discussion around the dinner table in our house (since the "normal amount" is roughly equal to...NONE).
There has been some educational background-knowledge building, like when we touched on such topics as: the voting process, the rights and responsibilities of citizens to help choose leaders, the makeup of Congress, blah blah blah. (I actually had to jump up and leave the kitchen to Google "how many Representatives are there" because the number had slipped my mind. Utterly mortifying to have forgotten, yet instantly gratifying to locate the answer so quickly. I truly do not know how a fatally impatient--I mean "scholastically inquisitive"--person like me EVER survived without the blessed internet. "You can go to the Library tomorrow, honey, and look that up." Can you imagine? Oh wait...that was what my Mom told me a few decades ago...in the Dark Ages...aka "the 70s"!)
Anyway, we also talked a little bit about campaigning, and some ways the candidates might try to persuade you to elect them. Derek took this in a personal direction, turning to Husband and me and inquiring, "So, if you want the position of Preferred Parent, what can you offer me?" (Spontaneously applying a theoretical framework to a self-constructed hypothetical-real-life situation--I love my Middle School nerdling!) Husband sincerely and enthusiastically replied, "More televised sporting events on Saturdays! More salted-snack-chips on Sundays! And more grilled meat selections on Tuesdays!" Derek's eyes lit up as he contemplated life under Dictator Dad, but in fairness he turned to me and allowed me a chance to counter. "I will provide a consistent, early bedtime to ensure enough rest. A variety of nutritious and tasty meals. And (big finish) desserts on the weekends!"
Well...you can just imagine how well my platform went over with the electorate. Actually, Derek instantly turned to Husband and firmly declared, "I'm definitely voting for you!" Riley, on the other hand, came over to hug me and said, "I choose Mom, because she says she'll do the right things to keep us healthy!" Wow. He might have been sucking up (quite skillfully, I might add, as I bought it hook, line, and sinker), but I thought that was pretty darn insightful...for a 4th-grader. Husband then took the opportunity to explain to Mr. Impulsive Hedonist--I mean Derek--that people in the midst of running for office sometimes phrase their policies and promises in such as way as to make them more enticing...but they might also leave out or gloss over the less enjoyable aspects. (Yeah, try to explain the subtle difference between "lying" and "spin-doctoring" to 9 and 12-year olds...that was fun...) "For example, after I win the election, I might do exactly what Mom proposed, because it's good for you, but I didn't want to have to convince you of that until afterwards!"
Derek looked...perturbed...at being manipulated by a scheming, semi-truthful political figure. So I suspect that when the votes are counted (all two of them) I will actually win in a landslide. A mandate, if you will! Welcome to the Mom-archy! Now, in keeping with the agenda outlined in my campaign, I would like you all to: finish your lowfat, vegetarian lasagna; do your homework; and be in bed by 9. I'm your mother, and I approved this message!